This book is dedicated to my father, Daniel Rabie, who was my Prime Love Giver, to my two daughters who were my inspiration, and to my mother, Hanina Rabie who continues to fill my life.

The Canadian edition titled: THEY LOVE YOU, THEY LOVE ME NOT, the truth about the family favourite and sibling rivalry, was released by HarperCollins in 1995. The US edition was published by Barricade Books, NY. in 1999 under the abridged title: SIBLING RIVALRY, The Truth About the Family Favorite. In 2000 it was translated to Portuguese and published by Editoriales Paulinas, a Catholic press in Brazil. My understanding of why a Catholic press would choose this book for publication is that the philosophy behind DOLF theory directs that when a child misbehaves, we should bring the child into the fold, that is, the family fold, a perspective that coincides with Christian values. This edict runs contrary to current Behavioral tactics that emphasize punishment, isolation and humiliation of the child.

Following is an excerpt from the American edition that explains the novel concept of division of parental roles in children’s eyes, as well as the surprising discovery of the significance of Favoritism for the life of a child.

“To fully understand the implications of sibling rivalry, we must begin by explaining two concepts. The first is Family Theory (or DOLF, the Distribution Of Love in Families). This is based on an easily understood but little talked about premise that parents are not created equal. When raising children, parents automatically divide and assume one of two roles that complement each other, but are definitely separate. Every family is composed of a more loving parent and a (comparatively) less loving parent, and while the degree of difference between the two may vary widely, this division of love’s labor will inevitably exist. I call the more loving parent the Prime Love-Giver (PLG) and the less loving one the Additional Love-Giver (ALG). No value judgment is attached to these identities, so that it’s not necessarily better to be the Prime Love-Giver than an Additional Love-Giver. Both parents contribute in crucial ways to family life, and neither is superior.

The second concept, Favoritism means that parents “favor” or prefer one or some of their children over others. Even though the very mention of the word makes parents cringe, the following chapters will explain in full why favoritism is a central concept that faithfully accompanies sibling rivalry wherever it goes. The two are inextricably connected, and we cannot take account of one without the other. “


In the book, the concepts are explained in a form that is amenable to the casual reader. However the book was rewritten by a ghost writer whose main task was to more fully express the ideas in a form that could be easily understood by the general public. So, while the thoughts and concepts behind DOLF theory are the product of a serious academic analysis, and reflect a well-thought-out level of intellectual depth and insight into the human psyche, at the same time, because they run parallel to real life and refer to common, everyday experiences, they may sound mundane. To bring the book to life, prove the concepts and help make sense of the findings to the general audience, the biographies of famous people were added in and cited as examples because of their popularity and familiarity to the general public.

Surprisingly, the the DOLF formula applies to everyone. There is no family or person who does not fit the framework of the theory, and nobody who can claim they are immune to the kind of dynamics it unveils. The only task for the reader is to incorporate DOLF into their thinking, and apply it to the people and situations that surround them, especially those closest to them whose situations are most familiar. Please note that this last point is extremely important! One is best advised not to try to apply the concepts to people or families they know from a distance, people they are informed about second hand, or people they don’t know intimately. Although it cannot be said that people do not tell the truth about their situations, we find that if we look at families IN DEPTH, the picture is very, very different from what people declare. Therefore, readers are encouraged to think only about those families with whom they are very close, very familiar and very intimate, at least at first where they can have deep insight. For example, you should apply DOLF to your family now, whether your Family of Origin with parents and siblings or Family of Procreation with wife and children. Or you might think about your parents’ families with aunts and uncles, your neighbor of 10-20 years, your co-workers of 10-20 years, and such. Kindly be warned that unless you are well experienced with the DOLF method, judging a family by their external appearance will very often not give you a true, reliable picture of their inner workings as a group.